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September 6, 2006    

FTSE 100 drops 0.9 percent

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by Elaine Frei

The FTSE 100 dropped 0.9 percent to 5,929.3 on Wednesday for its largest one-day decline in a month after labor data from the United States renewed fears that inflation would grow. In addition, crude oil prices fell again, sending oil stocks lower. The FTSE 250 was also down on the session, by 0.6 percent to 9,700.9.

In the mining sector, Xstrata was 2.3 percent lower to £24.18 on rumors that it will launch a rights issue worth 2.75 billion in order to finance its purchase of Canadian copper and nickel miner Falconbridge.

A number of sectors were weak, with some declines coming on broker downgrades. For example, coal fired power station operator Drax dropped 3.3 percent to 907p on a downgrade from “buy” to “neutral” from Merrill Lynch. Still, Drax is up 82 percent since the beginning of the year.

In the banking sector, Barclays dropped 1.2 percent to 665p on a lengthy “sell” recommendation from Citigroup, which said that new capital adequacy rules will have a harmful effect on Barclays’ investment banking business.

The recommendations were not all negative, however. Next added 0.8 percent to £16.80 on a “buy” recommendation from Deutsche Bank that came just a day after a similar rating by Man Securities. Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier also benefited from positive comments, gaining 0.8 percent to 569p after UBS repeated its “buy” recommendation.

Also seeing gains during the session was PartyGaming, up 0.6 percent to 117¼p.

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